March 6, 2013


I tend to overdo just about everything. I overcommit, I say yes when I really should say no, and I cannot do something without giving it my all. There are exceptions, of course. A quick once over cleaning in the boys' bathroom is sufficient. They will leave gobs of toothpaste on the counter and remnants of poor aim soon enough. While we're on cleaning, I am also pretty half-hearted about hanging up worn clothes, but, really, there isn't much else that I don't do 100%.
Well, there is one thing. I am not fully committed to resting. Sure, I get the requisite hours of sleep each night, I'm intent on Sunday afternoon naps, and I occasionally doze on the couch after lunch when the kids are "enjoying" rest time. But I am not committed to spiritual and emotional rest. So much of my life I spend with my head down concentrating on a task or considering how I might counsel someone; hands moving across a keyboard, a cutting board, little coats and pants, piles of dirty laundry; feet rapidly pounding the pavement toward a meeting, a kid's activity, or an errand. My Google calendar and task list are typically open windows on my computer at all times, available for a quick addition or schedule shuffling. Again, head down, fingers moving, task checked off, needs met, needs to come.

How can I be so intently committed to movement but not nearly as committed to doing the things that breathe life into my soul? What I'm really asking is this: How can I be so intently committed to serving God but not nearly as committed to enjoying God?

I suppose I talk myself out of it because I don't want to admit I'm weak or tell myself I'll do it later. That's just ridiculous: I'll enjoy God later. I'll enjoy the gifts God has given me later. I'll enjoy my husband later. I'll enjoy my children later. 

Yesterday morning, I was pretty sure God was calling me to rest. Not to write, not to respond to emails, not to be with people, not to have a to-do list, nothing. But I fought it. I spent a restless few minutes putting in a load of laundry and wandering around the house looking for something urgent to do. I tried to check my email, but the internet connection wouldn't work. So I turned to my mini-internet, my smartphone. But I couldn't find it. I could, however, sense God laughing and calling me to Him. See? You need rest and I will make you receive it. Just be with Me. Take a walk. Stick your face in the sunshine. Let Me give you what you need today.

So I did.
I tried to take a walk but the frigid wind had me retreating inside quickly.
Instead I stood in the kitchen window, closed my eyes, and let the sun wash over me, the sun that I've barely seen in the past few weeks. And I thought about what a gift a sunny day is. I thought about God and how He gives good gifts.

Then I read. I read something that touched my heart so deeply that I cried weary, hopeful tears. I felt relief and grace mingling inside. And I felt compelled to pray and think about the hope I have in God.

Then I slept. Mid-morning naps feel naughty and delicious and, for me, are a way for me to take a bold stand against my need to do something productive rather than just be and receive and rest. I awoke from my naughty and delicious nap with a smile on my face and a renewed sense of life.

Why am I not more committed to these times of rest? Why do I not listen when the Spirit's quiet whisper asks me to stop doing so I can reflect on my "being" in Christ? When I rest, I notice so much more: the cherry blossom tree heralding the coming of spring, the way my children's fingers look when they grasp mine, what God is doing deep down in my soul.

When I rest, I am not being productive in the human sense. But I am doing something vitally important--I am enjoying God!

Are you enjoying God or are you just surviving life right now? How is God calling you to rest?